Clipless or Flats?

Forums Mountain Bike Forum Clipless or Flats?

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This topic contains 28 replies, has 25 voices, and was last updated by  Adam Van Winkle 8 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #107867

    Do you ride with clipless pedals or flats? Why?

  • #107868

    How about a [i:vx0pkdaq]both [/i:vx0pkdaq]option? Lots of people ride clipped in for XC and trail riding and then use flats for anything more risky, especially if there is a chance for more than a couple of feet of air or having to bail out off of a raised bridge or platform. I have a set of flats and platform pedals for just such a reason.

  • #107869
    "GoldenGoose" wrote

    How about a [i:2oc14i3z]both [/i:2oc14i3z]option? Lots of people ride clipped in for XC and trail riding and then use flats for anything more risky, especially if there is a chance for more than a couple of feet of air or having to bail out off of a raised bridge or platform. I have a set of flats and platform pedals for just such a reason.

    Added!

  • #107870

    I ride clipless for one main reason and that is climbing. Since I started clipless about six months ago I have been able to climb a lot better, especially on extended climbs. Granted I only ride XC, but even on elevated bridges, skinnies, and teeter totters I will generally stay clipped in.

  • #107871

    Flats.

    I rode clipless for a few months and kept getting hurt. I lose all confidence when I’m clipped in. The added benefit of being able to spin and pull up instead of mash when my legs grew tired was not worth the total loss of confidence. I’m a beast on flats with 5-10s. The only thing I miss about clipless is how easy it is to bunny hop.

  • #107872

    There should be a [i:2jwbqp77]this again?[/i:2jwbqp77] option too 😆

    But I’ll play along. Clipped in, always, on the MTB. Way more confident, no worries of my feet coming off.

    Flats, always, when riding the Rollfast. I’d look silly clipped in.
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  • #107873

    Where is the "clip" option? I have toe clips on my ss but clipless on the geared bike.
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    will be switching the clipless pedals over to soon.

  • #107874

    This is my first forum post, but I know this is a hotly and frequently debated topic.

    I recently started alternating between clipless and flats to (hopefully) make me a better rider. Being clipped in makes things like seated climbing and bunny hopping easier, but it also forces me to commit to pedaling through technical terrain when I might be tempted to put a foot down. Flats build more strength and endurance since there’s no power delivery on the upstroke. The aforementioned bunny hopping also requires a little more technique when my feet aren’t attached to the pedals.

    That said, I’m in the market for dedicated flat pedal shoes. My current Nike 6.0’s are usually fine, but after crossing a creek in them, they were way too slippery and absorbed as much water as a Shamwow. Any recommendations?

  • #107875

    I love my flats and have no intention of going with clipless.

    "arvi" wrote

    That said, I’m in the market for dedicated flat pedal shoes. My current Nike 6.0’s are usually fine, but after crossing a creek in them, they were way too slippery and absorbed as much water as a Shamwow. Any recommendations?

    I wear Vans old school shoes and they stick to my metal pin flats like velcro, wet or dry.

  • #107876
    "arvi" wrote

    This is my first forum post, but I know this is a hotly and frequently debated topic.

    I recently started alternating between clipless and flats to (hopefully) make me a better rider. Being clipped in makes things like seated climbing and bunny hopping easier, but it also forces me to commit to pedaling through technical terrain when I might be tempted to put a foot down. Flats build more strength and endurance since there’s no power delivery on the upstroke. The aforementioned bunny hopping also requires a little more technique when my feet aren’t attached to the pedals.

    That said, I’m in the market for dedicated flat pedal shoes. My current Nike 6.0’s are usually fine, but after crossing a creek in them, they were way too slippery and absorbed as much water as a Shamwow. Any recommendations?

    LOL@Shamwow

    I know quite a few riders swear by 5.10s. Teva seems to have some decent shoes also but I have not spoken with anyone that has worn them.

  • #107877
    "dgaddis" wrote

    Flats, always, when riding the Rollfast. I’d look silly clipped in.

    hmm idk bro…you look pretty silly on flats too 😃

  • #107878

    When I rode flats I wore Adidas shoes till sole completely worn out due to metal pins in pedals. 2 months ago switched to clipless (Time), lost all confidence in riding skinnies, bridges etc. Don’t have much time to ride now but still feeling my confidence is coming back, especially after a day in Ray’s MTB Park.
    When rode with flats I felt like my feet glued to the pedal so didn’t noticed big difference when switched to clipless except the fact of increased average speed on the trail and a few "landing" due to late unclipping 😀 Feel like clipless help me with balance on skinnies too. Still riding difficult parts more carefully then with flats though. Don’t think I’ll go back to flats but who knows 😀

  • #107879

    I was also worried about technical terrain on clipless pedals but you know mine are not too bad to get out of. There was a little learning curve but after only a few rides and only one crash I will never ride flats again. I have been gaining more and more confidence on my bike through the technical sections.

    Well I do ride flats on test rides when I work at the shop.

  • #107880

    I ride clipless and have ever since my first year riding back in 2005. I climb much better with the clipless then flats. Also I don’t have to worry about my feet slipping off of the pedals. The other day I took a test ride on a friends bike with flats and I did not realize how dependant I was on the clipless. I know people have their opinions and as someone posted above it is a hot topic but it is all a matter of preference. When I am out riding I would never judge anyone’s skills or dedication to the sport based on their equipment. I was actually listening to some jerks in a bike store mocking a felllow rider (behind his back) because he had a rather nice Santa Cruz Nikel with flats. Anyway maybe I can post a question. I have old Shimano M505’s and they have been reliable. The don’t make M505’s anymore but make M520’s which start at $55.00. What is the difference between just say the M520’s and the newer Shimano models that cost $100.00 and up? Is it just weight? When I get my new bike I will need a new set.

  • #107881

    Clipless – feel better with them, even on trails

  • #107882

    Guess I am kind of in the same boat as arvi. I have clipless pedals that are flat on one side, which I thought would be the best of both worlds.

    Seems like in the rough stuff, I am always unclipping.

    They certainly ‘feel’ more efficient through the pedal stroke. Until I fall down, which is often. 😆

  • #107883

    I rode clipless for years but switched over to flats last season. Yeah, you lose some climbing power, but the flats really force you to improve your bike handling in a hurry. You really have to pump and maintain pressure on you feet or you’ll come off, you can’t just point the bike downhill and let it rattle around under you. Also, it’s confidence inspiring to be able to touch a foot down in a gnarly section or fast turn.

  • #107884

    Flats here. Odyssey plastic BMX pedals to be exact. No worrying about the pedal ripping a chuck out of my shins with the plastic and they are very light. They also slide nicely over rocks etc. I haven’t found grip on them to be much less than the metal style flats. Been riding the same set for over a year and they are holding up great.

    As to why I run flats…. I had a crash about ten years ago riding clipped in that ended up with my right collar bone being broken and my left shoulder dislocated. A crash that had I been on flats wouldn’t have ended so badly. For me regardless of the benefits of being clipped in the months of recovery between the broken bones and shoulder surgery will never be worth it.

  • #107885
    "arvi" wrote

    That said, I’m in the market for dedicated flat pedal shoes. …. Any recommendations?

    used to use vans- may be the best of the skate shoes as their waffle pattern holds the pins well. when they wore out i sucked it up and went for 5.10’s. the difference was not subtle. also, the pins ripped the *^#%$ out of the vans waffles whereas the 5.10’s are holding up really well. worth the investment, once you get over the sticker price. have seen some spitfires on sale for about $50 recently. (http://www.blueskycycling.com/product/1 … e_Shoe.htm)

    as for the debate- it all depends on what and how you ride.
    if you’re an xc/goater, yeah, definitely an up-stroke pull advantage clipped in.
    if you’re more into speed, features, rock gardens, etc on the downside, flats are preferred by the vast majority of freeride/dh riders for good reason.

    i used to ride clipless. moved to flats and won’t look back. i’m able to hit stuff i’d feel uncomfortable trying clipped in, and as just previously mentioned (banzairx7, above) flats are safer. i’ve had a couple of times needing to clip out and didn’t quite make it, whether my own fault or the mechanisms (which can wear or can stick with mud, etc). but then, i gave up on my bike monitor, trying to beat any times/distance and find the whole flats/causal pace up/pinning it on the down riding style just a lot more fun. but if your game is to go out to beat the clock, hit cardio, or go long distance xc, clip in.

    pretty simple really.

  • #107886

    I just rented a bike while vacationing in Florida. I rode Alafia and had to use platform pedals. I have eggbeaters on my bike at home so I’m used to clipless. Wow what a difference. My feet were constantly flying off the pedals. I hate riding flats. Although it did save me once when I had to bail, which I would have never got unclipped in time.

  • #107887
    "cynergy68" wrote

    I just rented a bike while vacationing in Florida. I rode Alafia and had to use platform pedals. I have eggbeaters on my bike at home so I’m used to clipless. Wow what a difference. My feet were constantly flying off the pedals. I hate riding flats. Although it did save me once when I had to bail, which I would have never got unclipped in time.

    there is a good reason good flats aren’t cheap, and 5.10 shoes changed the game (although waffle bottom vans are pretty good too). using substandard flats and shoes is worse than having substandard parts on the bike because, as you said, you lose your contact points.

    i’ve been clipped out (against my will, with painful results) on rock gardens using mallet pedals, yet 5.10 impacts with truvativ holzfeller pedals and i’m glued and far more confident in aggressive situations. land jumps a little off with clips and your day can be over.

  • #107888

    Hey! What about those of us who don’t use either? Are you anti-clip? With mini-clips (those without straps) you’ve got the best of both worlds. You’re feet are securely on the pedals even when bombing down hill over rough terrain with mud all over the place; and you have the option of putting your foot on the ground if you want or need to. They’re cheap, too.

  • #107889

    Depends on terrian and the bike.

    On my SS I have SPD pedals and they help a million on the climbs. That said I am often scared away from the technical on my SS because of the pedals (and past experiances)

    On my FS I have flat pedals with clips, I love them. I have riden them for years and don’t slip out and can get out quick if needed.

    On the cruiser and the old 3 speed just regular flats, I don’t really venture far from path and they are used more for the social rides.

  • #107890
    "Funrover" wrote

    Depends on terrian and the bike.

    And on what you ride. As I said, I ride clipless. I consider myself as a XC-rider, if I would do DH or FR, I probably would ride flats too

  • #107891

    clipless for me, my friend rides flats, they each have an advantage. I think you learn how to anticipate the need to put a foot down or ride through it and save it. Keep them lubed up and working smoothly. It’s funny to watch somebody who is using clipless for the first time, I never laughed so much.

  • #107892

    Definitely flats… can’t count the number of times I would’ve ate it if I were welded to those freakin pedals!

  • #216440

    I ride flats and can still go as fast as my buddies when ride with them that race XC and ride clipped in. If you have good pedals and good shoes it won’t be that big of a difference. The reason why our ride flats is because I have old injuries and riding flats keeps me safer and less chance of getting more injuries. If you are not racing there is no need to be clipped in unless it’s your thing.

  • #216441

    [Downhill Mike] “If you have good pedals and good shoes it won’t be that big of a difference.”

    I agree that a good set of flat pedals with good shoes makes a huge difference. That is what I always use now. Cheap flat pedals are almost completely useless…

     

  • #236068

    Rode flats for most of my life, tried clipless for about 4 months or so and developed a pain behind my right knee. Fell on my ass riding a wheelie while clipped in and that was the end of clipless for me. Back to flats. I liked the climbing benefit of the clipless but I like to hop around a lot and as a result I do  lot of bailing. I found myself not wanting to do any of that when I was riding clipped in.

    I just ordered those huge flats from Pedaling Innovations. Supposedly those are the bee’s knees.

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